The competition between Ulsan in the hunt and Daejeon on the road is a thrilling one that requires a win
The reeling Ulsan Hyundai and eighth-ranked Daejeon Hana Citizen are set to face off in a battle for the title.
Ulsan and Daejeon will meet in the 30th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 at Munsusu Stadium in Ulsan, South Korea on April 16 at 7pm.
With four games remaining in the 33rd round, which will determine the championship Final A (1st-6th) and Final B (7th-12th), the 12 K League One teams are desperate for points.
However, Ulsan and Daejeon are feeling the pinch after failing to capitalize on their recent victories.
Ulsan has been dominant since the start of the season and has amassed 61 points (19 wins, 4 draws, and 6 losses) through Round 29.
However, since Round 21, they have only won two, drawn two, and lost four games in eight matches, and have not shown the same “firepower” as in the early and mid-season.
Worryingly, there was no winning streak after round 21. In fact, in rounds 22 and 23, they tasted the pain of their first back-to-back defeats since Hong Myung-bo took over as head coach.
Ulsan hasn’t won in its last two matches (one draw and one loss) after suffering a 0-2 defeat against Gwangju FC in Round 29 on the last three days before the A-Match break.
If Ulsan fails to win this match, it will be the first time in more than two years that the club has gone three games without a win since July 2021.
More importantly, a loss would allow Ulsan to close the gap on the second-place Pohang Steelers (53 points).
Pohang will face 10th-ranked Suwon FC (29 points) at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Pohang Steel Yard.
If Ulsan loses and Pohang wins, the gap between the two sides will narrow to five points. Ulsan is in a situation where they could easily give Pohang a ‘last-minute upset’.
Furthermore, Ulsan had five players – Seol Young-woo, Jung Seung-hyun, Kim Young-kwon, Cho Hyun-woo, and Lee Dong-kyung – rested for the national team’s two September A matches.
It’s a bad situation for the defense, which will have to overcome European fatigue to play on the weekend.
A win over Daejeon would give Ulsan the first ‘win against a former club’ for a K League 1 club this season. However, Ulsan has been held to a 1-1 draw by Daejeon in their previous two meetings.
Daejeon is also thirsty for points.
Daejeon was ranked 2-4 at the start of the season before slipping in June and dropping to 8th place in August.
With one draw and two losses in their last three games, the gap between them and ninth-place Jeju United (35 points) has narrowed to two points.
Daejeon’s realistic goal is to reach the Final A.
With four points behind sixth-placed Daegu FC (41 points), the final Final A spot, Daejeon needs to beat Ulsan, who have yet to lose a game this season, to have any chance of qualifying.
Daejeon has played Ulsan twice this season, winning 2-1 in Round 7 and drawing 3-3 in Round 15.
The other big storyline in the matchup between Ulsan and Daejeon is the battle for pride between top scorers In-Joo Gyu (Ulsan) and Thiago (Daejeon).
The two are tied for the top scorer with 13 goals apiece. They are two goals behind third and fourth place finishers Bako (Ulsan) and Na Sang-ho (Seoul-Isang) with 11 goals.
Thiago has the edge in terms of recent goals.
Thiago scored six goals in three games in Rounds 26-28, including one hat trick. Lee In-gyu enjoyed a multi-goal game in Round 28, 온라인카지노 but neither player scored in Round 29.